Ireland to extend its highest COVID-19 restrictions until March 5

Grant Boone
January 30, 2021

The government has also chose to suspend all visa-free short-term travel from South Africa, Brazil and other South American countries until March 5 in order to mitigate the risk of new COVID-19 variants coming into the country, he noted.

New travel restrictions have also been confirmed with mandatory quarantine required for anyone arriving into Ireland without a negative PCR test.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin announced on Tuesday that his government has chose to extend the current Level-5 or the highest-level restrictions until March 5 in order to bring down the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, particularly hospitalization and ICU (intensive care unit) figures. A ban on holiday and short-term visas was also agreed. They will not be permitted to exit this quarantine early with a negative test for Covid-19.

All passengers entering the country will be subject to mandatory quarantine, a change from the policy of voluntary self-isolation.

The quarantine rule for those without a negative PCR test is expected to be approved today.

There will be increased garda presence near ports and airports to question people as to whether their trips are essential, and they will be able to hand out increased fines.

Meanwhile, contacts are ongoing with the governments in Belfast and London about an "all-island" or "two-island" quarantine solution; however, the Taoiseach has said those talks remain "very embryonic."

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Moeti says Africa is at the crossroads and urges people to double up on public health measures to keep the virus from spreading. The CDC notified the state on Wednesday that a SC sample tested at LabCorp proved to be the South African variant, DHEC said.

Mr Martin this morning said that while case numbers are "going in the right direction", a longer lockdown is needed to drive down rates of infection.

Among the personnel attending the sub-committee meeting were the Taoiseach, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar (FG), Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan (GP), members of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and other senior ministers.

Micheal Martin said he will do "whatever it takes" to keep numbers down, telling the Dail there will be "no half measures" to ensure a "prolonged suppression" of Covid-19. "That needs to stop", he said.

Two-thirds of cases in Ireland can now be attributed to the more contagious United Kingdom variant, the Minister for Health said.

"It's not as simple as putting a seal on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, it's a seamless interaction", Martin continued.

Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer, said more Covid-19 cases had been reported in the month of January than all of 2020. He added that even with the imminent extension of the lockdown, there will still be a "significant number" of people in hospital with Covid-19 by the end of February.

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